Dear faith family,
Church Council and I have decided to suspend in-person worship at FaithWestwood, effective immediately. While we have been diligent in our precautions, the pandemic in our area has reached a crisis point. Thank you to our church council for their support of my proposal, even though we didn’t all agree and all of us felt torn about the decision. And just today our Bishop Ruben Saenz recommended that all churches in high-Covid areas suspend worship.
Some of this was driven by the numbers.
- Covid cases in Douglas County have skyrocketed, as you can see in the chart. On September 8 Douglas County had 12.1 cases per day per 100,000 (seven-day rolling average). Now it’s ballooned to 99.8.
- Area hospitals are becoming overwhelmed. On September 1 there were 68 hospitalized Covid patients. Now there are 387. We may not have enough ICU nurses to care for them. And we can expect our hospitals to approach or exceed capacity soon.
Some of this decision was driven by individual stories – “near misses” as one person on the council called them. In the last few weeks we’ve had two cases where someone in a key role with in-person worship became symptomatic on Saturday, so they did not come. Had they been asymptomatic, or pre-symptomatic on Sunday, it could have easily led to transmission.
And when I look around on Sunday mornings I see many in their 70s and 80s. By remaining open for in-person worship, we would especially expose them to increased risk.
The risk that you will contract Covid in worship may be small. But the risk that somebody will contract Covid in worship has, in my mind, increased substantially. Fortunately, we are already doing online worship. It’s not nearly as good as meeting in person, but it will have to do for now.
There are important questions I’m not prepared to answer today, but they will need to be addressed.
- How long will in-person worship be suspended?
- Will our groups still meet in the building?
- Will we have Midweek for our students?
- What about scheduling a funeral?
You will still be able to use the west entrance from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. to bring your Thanksgiving Bags or other items. Just press the button to the left of the inside doors. I will miss seeing you this Sunday, but I will be there for you online.
All for Christ,